Alexander Introduces Legislation To Delay Fishing Restrictions Below Dams

Thursday, February 21, 2013

At a press conference Thursday at Old Hickory Dam, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) told a gathering of anglers and other community members that he will introduce legislation next week to delay the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ “unreasonable plan to restrict fishing below Cumberland River dams that will destroy remarkably good recreational opportunities and many jobs.”

“Water spills through the Cumberland River dams less than 20 percent of the time on average,” the senator said.

“To close off the tailwaters to fishing 100 percent of the time would be like keeping the gate down at the railroad crossing 100 percent of the time: The track isn't dangerous when the train isn’t coming, and the tailwaters aren’t dangerous when the water isn’t spilling through the dam.”   

Sen. Alexander said his legislation would require the Corps to conduct an environmental impact review before it could restrict public access to the fishing waters below 10 dams on the Cumberland River. The senator said this process would likely take more than a year and would include multiple comment periods, as well as give Congress time to determine if the funding required for the safety barriers on the Cumberland River is in the best interest of public safety and the American taxpayer.

The senator, who is the senior Republican on the Senate committee overseeing Corps funding, also said that he “wanted to know exactly where the $2.6 million that the Corps plans to use to erect physical barriers is coming from during these tight budget times.”
 
Sen. Alexander was joined at Thursday’s event by Ed Carter, executive director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and Mike Butler, CEO of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.

Mr. Carter told the gathering, “These are extremely important waters for economic and recreational reasons, and there are alternative ways to address the safety issues for boating anglers.”
 
Mr. Butler said, “These are public waters, owned by the citizens and held in trust by the state, and they offer some of the best fishing to be found anywhere. The notion of completely banning boats from our world-class tailwater fisheries without any public input is alarming, and the statistics show that fishing below the dams is exceedingly safe.”

Two weeks ago, Sen. Alexander and Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and Jim Cooper (D-Tn.) met at the U.S. Capitol with Maj. General Michael Walsh of the Corps to press their concerns about the Corps plan. Earlier Alexander had met with Lt. Col. James DeLapp, Commander of the Nashville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The senator said he has requested a meeting with the Assistant Secretary of the Army to press his case that “there are more reasonable ways to achieve both the goals of public safety and allowing taxpayers to enjoy these good fishing opportunities.”   

Sen. Alexander pointed out that the Tennessee Valley Authority achieves its safety goals without using physical barriers to restrict fishing access to tailwaters below its dams, instead using warning signs, strobe lights and horns at 22 of its 31 dams to warn of times when water will spill through the dams.

 


Tennessee's 2014-15 Gun Season For Deer Starts Nov. 22

Tennessee’s gun season for deer an annual opening on the Saturday before Thanksgiving which this year falls on Nov. 22, for 2014-15. For the fourth year, sportsmen will find one continuous season that will continue through Jan. 4, 2015. The continuous season replaced the previously two segmented hunting seasons that were in place prior to 2011. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources ... (click for more)

Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga:  Chattanooga Named Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community The League of American Bicyclists has named Chattanooga a  Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community , a step up from the bronze level that the community has maintained since 2007. The designation comes from improvements in all of our services ... (click for more)

County Schools Have Plan To Put Security Cameras At Every School

The Hamilton County Schools have a plan to put security cameras in every school, Supt. Rick Smith told the County School Board Thursday night. He said the money would come from the $2,201,000 the schools received last year from the sale of the old Ooltewah Elementary School property. The proposal must get approval from the School Board at the December meeting, then from the ... (click for more)

Lookout Mountain, Ga., Raises Sewer Rates; Joins In Kudzu Fight

The Lookout Mountain, Ga., City Council on Thursday night approved an increase in sewer charges. The council approved ordinance 281 increasing sewer rates to $6 per 100 cubic feet of water from the previous rate of $4.77.  The new increase will be in effect in January 2015.    City Manager Brad Haven said the town will be replacing the flow meter for ... (click for more)

Don't Allow Us To Be Overrun By People Who Do Not Belong Here - And Response (5)

Thank you, Senator Corker, for your clear, concise evaluation of the president's attempt to bypass Congress and personally and independently establish national policy that violates our current immigration laws.   Our long-standing failure to enforce our laws to control illegal immigration across our southern border has made this country less safe and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Quick! Arm Our Guards

When I learned last Wednesday that Chattanooga’s leading hospital, in a ridiculous attempt to be more “family friendly,” planned to disarm its security guards. I was aghast but decided to wait for the proper “incident” to illustrate how stupid members of our “free thought society” can sometimes be. It took exactly one week. A bit after midnight on Thursday morning a gunman appeared ... (click for more)